Thanksgiving Message 2020
Thank you to all the alumni, faculty, staff, students and parents for another successful year at Merrimack College.
Nov. 25. 2020
Dear Merrimack College Community,
Tomorrow we will celebrate Thanksgiving, traditionally a time where gathering and coming together with family and friends is the norm. However, COVID-19 has changed many things in our lives, with one of them being Thanksgiving and how we celebrate this holiday of thanks. Although we will be altering the way we celebrate, the meaning behind the holiday has not changed – and there continues to be much to be thankful and grateful for.
There is no question that COVID-19 has created many challenges for us this year. Yet, this community came together during what is arguably the most difficult crisis of our lifetime and has done more for one another and more for the greater community than one could imagine. During this time we transformed our institution to give our students the best educational experience possible while protecting the health and wellbeing of our community. From wearing face coverings, to following social distancing guidelines, to meeting and learning through Zoom, we have just completed one of the most successful semesters in my time here as President. I am incredibly grateful to each of you for your courage, dedication and commitment and support for each other. We would not have been able to do all we have done without each of you and your commitment to learning and working through COVID-19.
As we enter the Advent season, beginning on November 29, we will do so with open hearts and minds as this season of great hope prepare us to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ into the world as it is today. In the Catholic Church, the traditional and sacred time of Advent prepares each of us to remember the true meaning of Christmas – the First Coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, his embodiment as a fully human being, and his ongoing presence among us in the poor and needy, the sick and suffering, the lost and hopeless, and wherever two or more of us gather in his name. This Advent season I invite each of you to step away from the business of life, especially during this time of COVID-19, to commemorate the birth of Jesus, but also to reflect on all that is holy and right in this world. It is easy to be discouraged with the state of the world as it is today, but remembering the immortality of Jesus Christ during this time signifies to each of us the strength and healing that is to come. As our Patron Saint Augustine once said, “God’s promises are given through his Son. Even so, it was not enough for God to send his Son to point out the way – he made his Son the way itself, so that we can go on our journey guided by him as he walks along his own way.”
Finally, the Thanksgiving holiday is not only a time to give thanks, but also a time to support those who may be less fortunate. For those who work selflessly to alleviate the suffering and the challenges of others – especially the medical professionals who are taking care of the health of others every day, even at risk to themselves; those who are working hard to make sure food is reaching those who need it most; the staff of grocery stores across this country who keep supplies stocked so that we can enjoy our holiday meals; and the first-responders who work every day to keep us safe. We are most grateful for you and I thank you for your courageous efforts.
Let us also remember that this is a season of gratitude. The spirit Thanksgiving conveys is always welcome – this year perhaps more than ever.
I wish you and your family a restful and renewing Thanksgiving holiday in preparation for the end of the fall semester and remote finals.
Be safe, Be well, God Bless.